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Conservation council responds to water strategy report

By Regis Phillips Feb 7, 2024 | 3:30 PM

An environmental non-profit organization is responding to the provincial government’s Water Strategy Report and Review.

The government issues annual progress reports on the status of the action items listed in the strategy and reviews the strategy within five years of its release.

Beverly Gingras, executive director of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, said the water strategy review drowns in vague commitments and shifting targets.

“The government said they had met 14 of the 35 goals, and they certainly had done some work publishing reports about the water quality in New Brunswick, giving the public access to some of the water quality information, and they’ve done some mapping so they’ve certainly done some work,” said Gingras.

“But they still have over 50 per cent of the deliverables they said they were going to meet, they are still working on them or haven’t started working on them, and the information that they provided on these additional action plans that they haven’t met yet is very big, so it is very difficult to tell where they are in meeting some of these goals.”

In December 2017, the New Brunswick government released “A Water Strategy for New Brunswick 2018 – 2028” (Water Strategy).

The purpose was to provide the foundation for improvements to enable the province to continue to manage water resources in a sustainable way now and into the future.

  • Goal 1 – To better understand and share knowledge about water.
  • Goal 2 – To protect drinking water supplies.
  • Goal 3 – To preserve and enhance aquatic ecosystems and the water on which they depend.
  • Goal 4 – To work cooperatively on aspects of water protection and management.
  • Goal 5 – To report publicly on strategy implementation

Gingras said she also believes Indigenous communities and climate change could’ve been discussed more in the report.

“The government in this strategy said had really focused on working with Indigenous communities and building a dialogue with them, and had commitments making this strategy more inclusive of Indigenous voices, and the progress report and review certainly do not do that,” she said.

The executive director said there is also a lack of any sort of climate change in the water strategy document.

“Climate change is a huge issue and has a significant impact on water resources within this province, and we don’t know what the government is doing in terms of trying to prepare our communities for the potential of floods, droughts, fires, all of those things that can affect our drinking water quality,” she said.

The next progress report will be released in 2028. Details about the current water strategy report can be found by clicking here.